There are only a handful of restaurants in the small town of Romaniemi in Finland. Ask anyone in Rovaniemi for a restaurant recommendation and Restaurant Nili will always be one of the top choices.
I highly recommend you to make a reservation beforehand but my friends and I were lucky to get a table without reservations.
Lappish wood lines the entrance of Restaurant Nili gives the restaurant a rustic feel.
Stepping into Restaurant Nili feels like going into the traditional home of a Finnish family. Lappish wood, reindeer horns and reindeer leather decorates the restaurant, giving the place a cosy ambiance.
We were shown into a small room known as “Reindeer Room” where the ceiling and walls are lined with reindeer leather. There are black-and-white photographs in wooden picture frames hanging on the walls depicting the landscape and people of Lapland.
We happened to be there when they were celebrating their anniversary so there is a specially curated menu.
Each of us got a glass of Roi Rojito [12€]. It’s a cocktail drink of Bacardi rum, lime, sparkling bilberry and fresh mint. It’s sweet and minty, the perfect start to a great meal.
First, we each got a small piece of potato flatbread topped with creamy reindeer moussse.
Appetizer is a bigger piece of potato flat bread called gahkku, topped with toppings of your choice:
Smoked Rainbow Trout is the crowd-pleaser. The salty smoked fish works well with fennel, egg and herb salad with butter milk dressing to give it a touch of richness.
For a more local speciality, there is Smoked Reindeer Horseradish Mousse. The red sauce on the side is “lingonberry ketchup” made with wild lingonberries gives a tangy sweet taste. Pickled cucumber, pickled onion and dried reindeer meat gives the dish a subtle smokiness.
Next up is a thick Black Salsify Cappuccino with Maalahti Bread Crumb. Salsify is a root vegetable that tastes slightly sweet giving the cappuccino a natural sweetness.
The safest choice for main course is the Glow Fried Sea Salmon with Honey Dijon Mustard Glaze. The glaze makes the salmon taste amazing.
In my opinion, Beef Cheek Stewed in Red Wine is the best of the 3 main courses. The beef chunks are melt-in-the-mouth tender, accompanied by rosemary gremolata, buttery mashed potatoes and honey carrots.
Dessert was Fresh Sea Buckthorn Posset. Sea buckthorn is a bright orange berry that has a fruity sweetness. Topping the sea buckthorn with salt caramel, berries and oat granula to balances the flavors.
Address: Valtakatu 20, 96200 Rovaniemi, Finland
Telephone: +358 40 036 9669
Opening Hours: Daily 12pm – 11pm